By Rickey Fuquay, Jr.//Contributing Writer
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Middle Tennessee (11-12, 1-7 C-USA) suffered a doubleheader sweep in their Conference USA matchup with Florida Atlantic on Saturday evening at FAU Softball Stadium.
The Blue Raiders were mercy-ruled in the first game 9-0 in five innings and lost the second game 3-1.
The Blue Raiders could not get anything going on offense, as they managed just one hit in the contest en route to their third shutout loss of the season.
Freshman catcher Morgan Harris was the only Blue Raider to record a hit in the game, going 1-for-2.
The Owls (23-7-1, 4-1 C-USA) struck first as they broke through with three runs on four hits to take a 3-0 advantage in the bottom of the first inning. The Owls never looked back as they continued adding on to their lead with a six-run outburst on four hits in the second inning, including a grand slam by Melissa Martinez to stretch their lead to 9-0.
Pitching and defense did the rest, as the Owls rolled to a 9-0 victory over the Blue Raiders in five innings.
Senior pitcher Caitlin McClure fell to 3-3 on the year after getting the start on the mound, allowing seven runs on seven hits in one and one-third inning.
Sophomore pitcher Megan Chocallo came in from the bullpen and allowed two runs on one hit in one and one-third inning. Freshman pitcher Mackenzie Prince also stepped in from the bullpen and allowed zero runs on zero hits in one inning of relief.
Kylee Hanson improved to 9-1 on the year with a complete game, allowing zero runs on one hit.
MTSU knocked six hits in the second game, but managed just one run in the 3-1 defeat.
Junior designated hitter Megan Griffith led the way on offense with two hits in three at-bats. Freshman outfielder Cor’Nisha Birdsong, senior outfielder Alma Cortez, sophomore third baseman Samantha Nieves and junior first baseman Carlie Jenkins all went 1-for-3 in the game.
The Blue Raiders struck first, as they capitalized on a fielding error Emily Lochten to take a 1-0 advantage in the top of the first. However, the Owls answered back with three runs on six hits in three of the next four innings combined to take a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
MTSU got two runners in scoring position in the top of the sixth inning, but could not capitalize on the threat and fell short to the FAU, 3-1. This finished off the sweep for the Owls.
Senior pitcher Kelci Cheney fell to 6-7 on the year, giving up three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts while going the distance.
Samantha Messer improved to 6-4 on the year, allowing one run on six hits with five strikeouts in six innings of work. Freshman pitcher Tatum Buckley recorded her first save of the year, shutting MTSU down in the seventh.
It was a nightmare on defense as the Blue Raiders committed four errors, resulting in all three runs for the Owls.
The Blue Raiders will look to avoid the series sweep when the two teams meet Sunday in the series finale. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. CST.
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